Recently, I’ve reviewed a couple of frozen meals, but I thought I’d switch it up a bit today and compare two products today instead of just giving you my random, meandering thoughts on what I thought of the frozen meal in question.
Today, I’m going to compare a frozen meal with the nearly identical product made from scratch, specifically made with ‘lighter’ ingredients. The frozen meal in question is Weight Watchers “Smart Ones” English Muffin Sandwich. I like these because they’re easy enough to throw in the freezer at work and to toss into the microwave on morning break (I’m one of those freaks who can’t eat immediately after getting up in the morning).
Taste-wise, the Smart Ones sandwiches aren’t too bad. They’re pretty tasty, in truth. Just make sure you follow the nuking instructions to a “T” or the egg product has a weird texture (I made that mistake on the first sandwich and nearly gave this product a failing grade for something that was my own fault). This sandwich is made with a white English muffin, turkey-style bacon, an egg white patty and a piece of cheese (I assume it’s a low fat version).
On the box, they have the sandwich sitting with the egg on the bottom, then the ‘bacon’ and then the cheese; please note that I prefer to eat it upside down so you taste the cheese and bacon first. It makes a difference, I tell you! 😉
Anyway, all told, it’s a pretty decent sandwich and it’s very convenient. You get two in a box, so it makes it pretty economical (as that’s two breakfasts for me).
However, making your own version of this in the morning isn’t too difficult and doesn’t take more than 10 minutes, really. Here’s what you need:
- 1 Weight Watchers OR PC Blue Menu multigrain thin bun (the values aren’t exactly the same, but close; my values are based on the WW version)
- 1 whole egg
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1 slice of reduced sodium turkey bacon (cut in half)
- 1 PC Blue Menu provolone cheese (or the equivalent of your favourite lower fat cheese)
- Mrs Dash Table Blend seasoning
Heat a skillet/pan over a medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Throw on the turkey bacon. Crack the egg into the skillet away from the bacon — I use a round metal cookie cutter sprayed with non-stick spray to hold the egg’s shape. If you have a small round pan, use that for your egg instead. Sprinkle the egg with a little bit of Mrs Dash, then break the yolk.
Toast the bun in your toaster as the egg and bacon cooks. Flip the bacon periodically to brown evenly on each side. The bacon should finish up quicker than the egg, but that’s okay — I find everything finishes around the time I need it.
I tend to cut the provolone slice into 4 quarters. I put 1/4 on the bun bottom, place the bacon on top of this, then one more 1/4 of the cheese. Then I remove the cookie cutter (carefully and with a pot holder) and flip the egg. Sprinkle a bit more Mrs Dash on the other side of the egg and place the other two quarter pieces of the cheese on top of the egg. Put a lid over this for about 20-30 seconds just to help melt that cheese a bit. Add the egg to the sandwich and put the bun top on.
Then all I do is wrap that in a piece of wax paper, then in foil and take it to work. When I’m ready to eat, I remove the foil but put the wax paper-wrapped sandwich back in the microwave for about 30 seconds and it’s good to go. Here’s what it ends up looking like:
Alright, and here’s the comparison between the two sammies:
Smart Ones: 210 cal, 27g carbs, 6g fat, 13g protein, 540mg sodium, 2g sugar
Homemade: 255 cal, 24g carbs, 15g fat, 18g protein, 405mg sodium, 3g sugar
Let’s look at those numbers a bit. At first glance, it looks like the Smart Ones sandwich is better, except for the carbs and sodium. And I’d agree with you to a point. But here’s my rationale for preferring my homemade sandwich over the frozen one: most of the extra calories and fat comes from the fact that I have a whole egg — white and yolk. Cut back on this stuff by using egg whites only, or use an egg substitute and you’ll probably see those values shrink.
As for the increase in sugar: that’s from the Weight Watchers Thin Bun. Their English muffins are actually only 2g of sugar, but their calories, carbs and sodium are higher. Ultimately, this one is a multigrain, which is a better choice than the white English muffin from the Smart Ones meal, imo.
And I really like that there’s less sodium, as this is something I have been trying to lower in my diet over the last two months.
Ultimately, both sandwiches are decent for nutritional values (though mine is high in fat). I would eat either again. Repeatedly. If I have time to cook in the morning and the ingredients, I will happily suck back those few extra grams of fat and just cut back on my lunch or dinner. If I don’t have time, I will willingly deal with the 135mg extra sodium and ignore that it’s a white flour product instead of multigrain, just because I’m in a rush or don’t have the ingredients to make my own.
I’d buy this Smart Ones product again, but I won’t lose sight of making my own from scratch!